Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .




LAUNCH PAD
Key facts about SpaceX
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 16, 2012


Space Exploration Technologies is about to become the first private company to attempt to send its own cargo capsule to the International Space Station and back.

Here are some key facts about the company, known as SpaceX, and its mission.

SPACEX

SpaceX was founded in 2002 by billionaire Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal. Musk is also currently the chief executive officer of Tesla Motors which builds and sells electric cars.

The Hawthorne, California-based company's mission is "to revolutionize space transportation in order to eventually make it possible for people to live on other planets."

SpaceX employs more than 1,700 people, including a number of former NASA astronauts.

Launch facilities are at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base; rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas; and offices in Chantilly, Virginia and the US capital, Washington.

ROCKET

The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket stands at a height of 48.1 meters (158 feet) with the Dragon space capsule on top, and is capable of producing one million pounds of thrust in a vacuum.

All structures, engines, avionics and ground systems are designed, manufactured and tested in the United States.

It is named after the Millennium Falcon, the personal spaceship of the Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca.

The rocket is powered by nine Merlin engines in the first stage and one in the second stage.

Falcon 9 is powered by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene.

Its first successful launch was on June 4, 2010, followed by a second on December 8, 2010.

SPACECRAFT

Dragon is a reusable spacecraft that was built to carry and return both astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.

The white capsule stands 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) high and is 3.66 meters (12 feet) in diameter. With its two solar array wings extended, the span is 16.5 meters (54 feet) wide.

Dragon can carry over 3,310 kilograms (7,297 pounds) split between pressurized cargo in the capsule and unpressurized cargo in the trunk.

On this mission, it will carry 521 kilograms (1,148 pounds) of cargo for the space lab and will also aim to return a 660 kg (1,455 lb) load to Earth.

Dragon is also built to carry up to seven astronauts to the ISS on future missions.

The capsule is maneuvered by 18 Draco thrusters powered by nitrogen tetroxide/monomethylhydrazine propellants.

It is protected by the most powerful heat shield in the world, designed in cooperation with NASA and made of a material called PICA-X.

In December 2010, it became the first private spacecraft to reach orbit and back -- a feat previously achieved by only the governments of Russia, the United States and China.

ISS MISSION

May 19: A single, instantaneous launch opportunity from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is set for 4:55 am (0855 GMT). If that cannot be met, a second opportunity arises on May 22.

May 21: A flyby of the International Space Station is planned for the early morning hours. Live NASA TV coverage begins at 2:30 am (0630 GMT).

May 22: Live coverage of the rendezvous and berthing of the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS begins at 2 am (0600 GMT).

May 23: Live coverage of the hatch opening and entry of the Dragon spacecraft begins at 6 am (1000 GMT).

After about two weeks, the ISS crew will detach it from the space station, and the Dragon will perform a series of engine burns that will move it away from the orbiting lab.

About five hours later, the Dragon should reenter the Earth's atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean, about 450 kilometers (250 miles) off the West Coast of the United States.

NASA TV is viewable at: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

.


Related Links
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





LAUNCH PAD
SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace Join Forces to Offer Crewed Missions to Private Space Stations
Hawthorne, CA (SPX) May 14, 2012
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Bigelow Aerospace (BA) have agreed to conduct a joint marketing effort focused on international customers. The two companies will offer rides on SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, using the Falcon launch vehicle to carry passengers to Bigelow habitats orbiting the Earth. According to Bigelow Aerospace's President and Founder, Robert T. Bigelow, "We're ... read more


LAUNCH PAD
SpaceX poised for high-stakes space station launch

Ariane rocket launches two Asian satellites

Key facts about SpaceX

Refurbishment on Grand Scale for Iconic VAB

LAUNCH PAD
Opportunity Rolling Again After Fifth Mars Winter

Mojave Desert Tests Prepare for NASA Mars Roving

Mars Opportunity Rover Is A Go For More Travel

WSU air-quality researcher to lead field studies in support of NASA Mars mission

LAUNCH PAD
Perigee "Super Moon" On May 5-6

India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 to wait

European Google Lunar X Prize Teams Call For Science Payloads

Russia to Send Manned Mission to Moon by 2030

LAUNCH PAD
Beyond Pluto And Exploring the Kuiper Belt

Uranus auroras glimpsed from Earth

Herschel images extrasolar analogue of the Kuiper Belt

New Horizons on Approach: 22 AU Down, Just 10 to Go

LAUNCH PAD
Cosmic dust rings no guarantee of planets

In search of new 'Earths' beyond our Solar System

Free-floating planets in the Milky Way outnumber stars by factors of thousands

Unseen planet revealed by its gravity

LAUNCH PAD
Marshall Completes Wind Tunnel Testing For Dream Chaser Space System

NASA Continues J-2X Powerpack Testing

India conducting new round of cryogenic engine testing

Aerojet's AJ26 Flight Engine Successfully Hot-Fire Tested for Orbital's Antares Rocket

LAUNCH PAD
China confirms plans to build own orbital station

Building a Heavenly Palace in outer space

Long March-2F rocket delivered to launch center

China's Lunar Docking

LAUNCH PAD
NASA trains astronauts to land on asteroid

Amateur astronomers boost ESA's asteroid hunt

Dawn reveals complexities of ancient asteroidal world

NASA Dawn Mission Reveals Secrets of Large Asteroid




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement